Russia expels 45 Polish and two Bulgarian diplomats - GulfToday

Russia expels 45 Polish and two Bulgarian diplomats


Refugees board a bus after fleeing the war from Ukraine at the border crossing in Medyka, southeastern Poland, on Friday. AP

Moscow is expelling 45 Polish diplomats, Russia's foreign ministry said on Friday, in a tit-for-tat move after Warsaw last month expelled the same number of Russian diplomats for espionage.

The ministry said it was declaring "persona non grata" 45 employees of the Polish embassy in Russia and of Polish consulates in the cities of Irkutsk, Kaliningrad and Saint Petersburg "as a response to Poland's unfriendly actions."

Russia also expelled two Bulgarian diplomats from Moscow in retaliation for Bulgaria's decision to expel two Russian diplomats from Sofia earlier in March, the foreign ministry in Moscow said in a statement on Friday.

Bulgaria expelled 12 Russian diplomats in March, and another one in April, over what it said were activities incompatible with their diplomatic status. It has also recalled its ambassador from Moscow for consultations over "undiplomatic, sharp and rude" comments by the Russian ambassador to Sofia.

Earlier Japan also announced it is expelling eight Russian diplomats and trade officials and will phase out imports of Russian coal and oil, with Prime Minister Fumio Kishida saying Moscow must be held accountable for "war crimes” in Ukraine.

Kishida said Japan will also ban imports of Russian lumber, vodka and other goods, and will prohibit new Japanese investment in Russia.

It will also step up financial sanctions against Russian banks and freeze assets of about 400 more individuals and groups, including military-linked organisations, Kishida said at a news conference.

He said atrocities against civilians and attacks on nuclear facilities in Ukraine are "severe violations of international law and are absolutely impermissible."

"We are at a critical moment in our efforts to get Russia to stop its cruel invasion of Ukraine and restore peace. Everyone, please cooperate," Kishida said, referring to the sanctions' impact on Japan, such as higher prices for gasoline, electricity and food.

Earlier during the day, the foreign ministry announced it is expelling eight Russian diplomats and trade officials. European countries have already expelled dozens of Russian diplomats.



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